There will be some pretty big decisions made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, one of which involves whether or not to bring back nine-time team captain Lavonte David.
Tom Brady has already retired, but he wasn’t the only veteran leader with an uncertain future. Lavonte David is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there’s a chance he may end up somewhere else when the free agency dust settles.
Tampa Bay is roughly $55 million over the salary cap, which means subtractions must be made before any additions are entertained. David falls into the latter category, as his contract is off the books and won’t be subjected to a potential cut, but the cap situation the Bucs are in puts his future with the team in jeopardy.
If David has his way, though, he won’t be going anywhere this offseason.
David spoke with Ronnie Lane and Tom Krasniqi on the Ronnie & TKras Show on WDAE and made it very clear that he would like to return to the Buccaneers not only next season but every season for the rest of his career.
He went so far as to invoke Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Rondé Barber:
“For sure. I’d love to retire as a Buccaneer,” David said. “Getting to play in the same building my whole career like guys like Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks, that’d be amazing. Just to walk the same hallways they walked their whole career.”
Buccaneers rumors: Lavonte David could still be a key piece of the future
Brooks is someone who David has transparently tried to model his career after in more than one way. He’s managed to do an incredible job of emulating his success on the field — both with personal accolades and a Super Bowl ring — and his desire to fully mimic Brooks is music to the ears of Bucs fans.
“Every time he comes around, my eyes light up,” David said of his admiration for Brooks. “He’s definitely a guy who I kind of want to model after, just be a guy who played with Tampa their whole career and was just a staple for what they do.”
The question is whether or not the Bucs can find a way to fit him back into their plans. While money is an issue this offseason, it could behoove the Bucs to find a way to re-sign David as it actually provides more cap relief than if he were to leave in free agency. If David comes back, he’d only count $2.3 million in dead money in 2023 and $4.6 million in 2024.
Taking the financials out of it, the Buccaneers are entering choppy waters in terms of what the identity and culture of the team will be in the post-Brady era. Having someone like David, who is perhaps the most well-respected member of the locker room, return seems like a good way to ensure troubled waters are safely navigated.